|The village I currently live in.|
So as is customary on my Saturday evenings after the workweek is finished, I decided to partake in some locally distilled rum. This in and of itself was not where I made the mistake. I made the mistake of thinking it would be a good idea to take a walk under this full moon while as drunk as a poet on payday. So I left the safety of Hacienda de Gipson and decided to wander and wax philosophic underneath this celestial gorgeousness the earth had been blessed with.
Now I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression here, Costa Rica is a lot safer than about 99% of the world. Violent crime is actually pretty rare here, especially in my location. But wherever there are impressionable young men, stupidity is bound to follow. And wherever a visibly drunk and stumbling (possibly singing) gringo is meandering through the barrio at night, that stupidity shifts gears and becomes opportunistic. Which is what happened to me.
I saw the three of them walking towards me in the distance and they were constantly turning and chattering amongst themselves as they got closer. One was much taller than me, but incredibly skinny and he was wearing a dark blue hoodie with the hood up, partially obscuring his face. Another was a little bit smaller and he was wearing a winter hat pulled down over his face with eye holes cut out. And the last one was wearing a baseball cap and bandanna combo that instantly screamed "genius". I was unsure of their intentions until the taller skinny one smashed a bottle on the pavement and kept the jagged broken neck in his hand like a knife.
|Who my attackers THOUGHT they were like...|
"Hey kid, I think you broke your bottle, you might want to drop the rest of it or somebody is liable to get hurt*" I said jokingly with a big smile. As I was talking to him, one of his friends circled around me and behind my back while the other was uncomfortably close to my right. The kid with the bottleneck then said "give us everything in your pockets, or I'm going to use it to stab you in the neck and you will die*". In that split second, the one behind me tried to wrap his arms around mine in some strange restraining bearhug. And that's when instinct and training kicked in...
|Who my attackers were ACTUALLY like...complete with hoodie.|
His friend, the tall one in the hoodie, had picked up a large rock from the side of the road and chucked it as hard as he could and bull's-eyed me right in the forehead. The blood from the resulting wound came quickly and swiftly with a lot of volume, and I was instantly stunned. Luckily for me, the kid just wanted to help his friend who he helped to his feet and ran off with in the distance. I should have just given them my wallet... It's not like I wouldn't have been able to track it down afterwards with police help because this is such a small town. But my ego and my blood alcohol content rewarded me with a deep head wound that I had to stumble back home with. Even now, three days later it hurts like hell and is in constant danger of infection because of the tropical environment I live in.
If my attackers were better armed and / or had a better killer instinct, I would be another violent crime statistic. I would be dead. And this is the lesson I really want to hammer home to all of you. Martial arts training, while incredibly useful in one-on-one nonlethal situations, is useless against numbers. Don't be fooled by movies and TV, real combat is fast and dangerous and subject to the laws of physics and mathematics just like anything else in the physical world. So if you ever find yourself in the same situation as me, try to get out of that situation as best as you can. Run. If you can't run, comply. If your compliance results in more violence, defend yourself as best you can while simultaneously trying to escape and make as much noise as you can to attract attention. This is a lesson I learned the hard way this Saturday night, and I hope this story inspires you need my warnings....